The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Friday, June 26, 2015

Just Opened - June 26, 2015

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A high energy, brassy sassy mashup of the Gershwin songbook won the Tony Award for best orchestration this year, and the production won 3 other technical awards, and that kickstarted our music today on Just Opened.  The rarely performed, and much less rarely recorded etudes of (salon era favorite) Moszkowski are a sparkling highlight, with the luscious clarinet "songs" performed by Seunghee Lee and a true chamber mix performance headed by guitarist Marc Regnier.

Original Broadway Cast Recording
Winner of 4 Tony Awards, including Orchestrations
ISBN# 8 8875 091142 1
Playbill site for CD, reviews and more
A musical based somewhat on the beloved film "An American In Paris" that was based on the orchestral work by George Gershwin.  Broadway musicals reflect what is going on in commercial music, and the mash- up scene leaves it's mark in an inventive score that includes beloved songs with bits and pieces of other beloved songs from the Gershwin songbook.  As much of the story is set in a nightclub, the orchestrations have the brassy, jazzy feel of film noir club scenes.  The show has a lot going on - the story being told over the music at times, a stage full of characters, and the music reflects this mix in ways that are very fresh for a story and setting of the 1940s.

Esther Budiardjo, piano
PROPIANO #224536
ISBN# 7 81988 00362 6
For more information
My Delight of the Week!   It is rare to hear the etudes of Moritz Moszkowski played at all, much less played with excellence, and here we have the complete Book 1 & Book 2.  Known best for his popular salon works, many of the Book 2 works stand alone as lovely evocative pieces.   Brahm's Hungarian Dances start off the program of wide ranging emotion, exquisite technique and lush salon-era lyricism.

Seunghee Lee, clarinet
Arlene Schrut, piano
ISBN# 0 99402 27692 2
Speaking of lush - the buttery "vocals" of Lee's clarinet leave us breathless for more.  This CD features engaging works of enduring popularity.  Fantasies on Verdi's operatic themes topped sales charts in the Romantic era, and they have remained favorites, and here they are simply excellent.  While these fantasies were "pop" works, they are showpieces of technique and color.  The major work on the CD is Schubert's "Sonata Arpeggione," and the program is rounded out with favorites by Elgar and Rachmaninoff.

Solo and Chamber works
Marc Regnier, guitar
ISBN# 0 30911 17142 1
Regnier's official site
Gift-Giver's Delight!  This CD plays like a truly collaborative Chamber performance, led by Grammy nominated, Peabody Conservatory grad. Regnier.  The 4 artists on this CD take turns in solo works and a variety of pairings of accessible works, mostly with a latin rhythm - composers like Assad, Villa-Lobos, Almeida, Powell, and more.  This CD was on air when our on-air host volunteer walked in, and he immediately said, "Isn't this wonderful!"  We know that not everyone on our gift lists love classical music... and CDs like this make it easy to introduce "non-classical" folks to great works of international composers in melodic, toe-tapping cross-over pieces.

Join us next week for more new releases, Just Opened, and
Thank you for your financial support of Delmarva Public Radio!
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, June 19, 2015

Just Opened June 19, 2015

Our usual varied sound stage of music today on Just Opened:  Orchestral Ballet Suites by Delibes, violin & piano "recital" CDs, Bach works for organ, and Tempesta di Mare's new release of Baroque "Theatrical" music.

Orchestral Music for the Theatre
by Lully, Marais, Rebel
Tempesta di Mare  (Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra)
ISBN# 0 95115 08052 8
My Delight of the Week!  Tempesta di Mare gets rave reviews internationally for their musicianship and audience pleasing programming.  In this the first of 2 CDs devoted to Baroque works for the theatre they have 3 "suites."

Organ works, vol. 1
Todd Fickley, Schnitger Organ
MSR 1561
ISBN# 6 81585 15612 4
A Classical Music collection can not find anything much more foundational than works for organ by J.S. Bach.  Fickley began his studies as a child at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. and completed his studies with High Distinction in organ performance from the Universtiy of Wales.  Todd is a speaker, performer and conductor, including performances of the complete Bach cycle of organ works represented here.  He holds multiple conductor and organist positions, including the Choral Society back where he began, at the National Cathedral.

with  Keunyoung Sun, piano
ISBN# 8 88295 17308 7
A varied recital CD from the internationally performing violinist who studied at Juliard and Yale School of Music. He has been hailed for brilliant technique and poetry.  I would suggest a good listen to selections from this CD before purchase... the recording sounds as if it were recorded live, and has the "open" sound that can create.  Those who are sound quality purists might find that too distracting.

Sylvia / Coppelia
Martin West, cond.
San Francisco Ballet Orchestra
ISBN# 0 30911 11252 3
The infectious, enchanting ballet music from Leo Delibes 2 most popular and famous Ballets.   These "Suite" reductions of the complete ballets include all the stirring, rousing, lyrical, sweet, memorable melodies from these great scores. A perfect gift for the lover of great music whose collection has it all!  Highly listenable time and again.

Jean-Baptiste Muller, piano
JBM # 40665
No ISBN# available
Muller's official website
Schumann's major piano cycle "Kreisleriana" is featured on this CD, along with Chopin's Sonata No. 3.  The picture at left is for a DVD which features more works in addition, but the CD photo is a different cropping of this same picture.  Click on link to Muller's website for purchase and more information on this artist. This Swiss pianist has won competition awards in Germany, Italy and France.

Join us again next week for more new releases, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, June 12, 2015

JUST OPENED - Friday June 12, 2015 - Kings of Music

This week on Just Opened, we have the newly released Broadway Cast Recording of "The King And I" - which just won the Tony Award last weekend for Best Musical Revival.  This new CD just arrived in stores on Tuesday, and it will fill our 3PM hour closing out today's show.

Another big winner of the night was the play "The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Nighttime" and it's young lead actor, Alex Sharp (one year out of Julliard, but playing a 15 year old), so today we have a musical mirror... a Chopin release from 20 year old Jan Lisiecki who won a major piano competition at 14... winning from the junior division over the competitors in the senior division!  That  "Curious" play also features a strong ensemble cast that pull a lot of duties -- just like the members of the incredibly fun Quartetto Gellato, and we have their new CD today, too.  A new release of Saint Saen's beloved "King of Instruments" Symphony rounds things out!

2015 Broadway Cast Recording
Kelly O'Hara & Ken Watanabe
ISBN# 6 02547 37204 8
Winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical Revival, it unites a long time Broadway star (O'Hara) with the major international heart-throb, Ken Watanabe in a production that remains faithful to the original, but is aware of modern sensibilities.  With the world-wide awareness of the place of women in many cultures, this classic remains startlingly relevant.

Jan Lisiecki, piano
D.G.  479 10399
ISBN # 0 28947 91039 -
Young piano phenomenon Jan Lisiecki was the focus of our weekend program "Collector's Corner" this past weekend.  His combination of natural talent and focused work is making him a major international concert draw as he turns 20 this year!  He plays the two etude opi with authority and nuance.   This is a great way to add basics to your music library, and also add a young performer who is clearly going to be a household name.

Quartetto Gelato
ISBN# 0 61297 45489 1
Multitalented, delightful, engaging musical performers, Quartetto Gelato have been part of our playlists for many years.   Their distinct sound is due largely to their replacement of the expected piano with the astonishing accordian playing of Alexander Sevastian.  Don't be put off by the fact that the works on this CD are all orignal.  QG are performers who know what an audience wants, and these new works are engaging, melodic, and easy to listen to again and again.  This is a chamber group that can take traditional concert works and make them relevant, fun, and exciting to listeners who say "I don't like "classical" music."   QG are proof that great music (and great musicians) are alive and well.

Symphony No. 3 "Organ"
Michael Stern, cond.
Kansas City Symphony
ISBN# 0 30911 11362 9
My Delight of the Week!  This perennial favorite work (with the closing movement hymn theme that was so movingly used in the film "Babe") features organist Jan Kraybill on "The King of Instruments."  The Symphony is the big finale on a program which begins with the logical opening work "Introduction and Capriccioso" which features violinist Noah Geller, and then cellist Mark Gibbs joins Geller for "La Muse et le Poete".   Poetry and power all from one Composer.   I especially like the way these selections allow different instruments to shine within the basis of an "orchestral wash."  This particular program presents an orchestral microcosm of why Camille Saint-Saens remains a major composer of beloved works.

Join us again next week, for more new releases, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, June 5, 2015

Just Opened - Playlist basics Old & New

From Rameau to Mozart to Dvorak to Janacek - Baroque to Modern, and adding new works for guitar from a living composer... we bring you basics from every time period1

Pieces de Clavcin en Concert
Ensemble Baroque Nouveau
ISBN #0 30911 11182 3
Review and more info.
A rare recording of Rameau by an American ensemble.  Due to Rameau's re-use of melodies from his keyboard works into chamber works, they always have a familiar feeling, and this recording maintains the crispness of the solo works in a small chamber group of early instruments.  Each member of this ensemble is highly accomplished, their combined resumes amount to a "who's who" and a "what's what" of Early Music.

Sonia Rubinsky, piano
Virginia Luque, cond.
Moravian Philharmonic Olomuc
ISBN# 7 80742 21913 6
My Delight of the Week!  Incredibly talented guitarist/conductor Virginia Luque leads the Moravian Philharmonic in two delicious Mozart works, a Symphony and a Piano Concerto featuring Sonia Rubinsky.

DVORAK - Symphony 9
JANACEK - Jenufa Suite
Manfred Honeck, Dir.
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
ISBN# 0 30911 27102 2
To purchase CD from Pittsburgh Symphony site.

Alan Rinehart, guitar
ISBN# 6 28855 00274 3
A pleasing combination of a few new works for solo guitar, along with many beloved traditional favorites from this established mature artist known as a teacher and music editor in addition to being a performer.  Rinehart has been recognized and performed at guitar festivals internationally in addition to studying lute in England.  The works on this CD are chosen to demonstrate the intimate, personal side of the guitar, and is dedicated to his wife.

Join us again next Friday for more new releases, Just Opened!
Kara Dahl Russell

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Romantic Sensibility - Just Opened - May 29, 2015

Today we have a focus on Richard Strauss and Sergei Rachmaninov, but we also explore an inventive new CD of JSBach's works played on mandolin and mandocello, and tenor Julian Pregardien chimes in.

Concertos 2 & 3
Stewart Goodyear, piano
Czech National Symphony
Heiko Mathias Forster, cond.
ISBN# 0 34062 30047 1
Steinway & Sons website
Canadian pianist Goodyear has been hailed as "a phenomenon who deserves wide attention" (Los Angeles Times) and adds these 2 well-loved concertos to his previous recordings of Tchaikovsky and Grieg.   This particular performance  said to uncover the works from years of standard performance practice and a recording that highlight's Rachmaninov's use of orchestral coloring.  This CD gives us two basic, foundational pieces for any music library, with a rising young performer.

Strauss: Don Juan
Eiji Oue, cond.
ISBN# 0 30911 19072 9
CD available on this webpage
This CD marks Minnesota Orchestra's first release of Richard Strauss's Don Juan, and also features Ravel's "Alborada del Gracioso", Sibelius' "Finlandia" and Liadov's "Baba Yaga."   With excerpts from many popular orchestral standards, one song from Mahler's "Songs of the Earth" and Taylor's "Looking Glass Insects" it is a varied an enjoyable program.

Mike Marshall, mandocello
Caterina Lichtenberg, mandolin
ISBN# 8 23421 10942 4
Lichtenberg's website
Marshall's website
Grammy nominated cross-over musician Mike Marshall and multiple award-winning guitar/mandolinist Lichtenberg join forces in this CD to present Bach's 2 part inventions on mandolin and mandocello.  The 1700s was the first golden age of the mandolin, so this idea has historic veracity and transports us back to the way Bach's music may have been played in his day outside the church walls.  Lichtenberg is the only Professor of classical mandolin currently in the world - at the Cologne, Germany music Conservatory.  These inventions have been called "intense musical landscapes" and this pairing gives us a new perspective on these well known seminal works.

Ken Watson, oboe & arranger
Double Reed Quartet
ISBN# 7 00261 41921 3
Watson's website for purchasing info. & links
My Delight of the Week!  Ken Watson's biography is worth reading for it's depth and complexity... just fascinating.   Having been a member of "The President's Own" (and several of the other musicians on this CD either were or are currently part of that group) he decided to switch from musician to active duty... and has since worked in network security.  Such is the life of a musician!   Now able to focus more fully on music, he is particularly devoted to fostering knowledge and appreciation for double reed instruments.  With the lyricism of Mendelssohn, the appeal of Gershwin, and the lush melodies of Still, I'd say this is a great start! 

An Die Gelibte
with Christoph Schnackertz, piano
ISBN# 4 260183 51012 3
Son of renowned lyric tenor Christoph Pregardien, Julian has been called a "major discovery" and is performing internationally in opera, concerts, and - as here - performing lied.  In what he calls his "own very personal circle of songs" he sings works of Beethoven, von Weber, Richard Strauss and Wolf.

Join us again next Friday for more new releases, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

Friday, May 22, 2015

May 22, 2015 - Just Opened - Shakespearean Dramatics

Today our musical selections explore Baroque music, the drama of operatic melodies, and Temestuous Shakespearean passion ... music from the Baroque and Romantic eras. 

Shakespeare's TEMPEST
Sullivan & Sibelius
Michael Stern, cond.
Kansas City Symphony
ISBN# 0 30911 11152 6
Best known for his work with Gilbert, Arthur Sullivan wrote many things on his own, but they are greatly overshadowed by his successful partnership.  His settings of Shakespeare songs are often included in anthologies, and here is his rarely heard music for The Tempest.  For comparison, we also have Sibelius's Suites for performances of the Tempest as well.  "Coupling these two works... was a brilliant idea--a "concept" album that really makes good musical sense. Happily...the performances are as smart, atmospheric, and vibrant as the music itself...and they're stunningly recorded..." --David Hurwitz, Classics Today

Eugenia Moliner, flute
Denis Azabagic, guitar
ISBN# 0 90404 94482 6
My Delight of the Week.  In the Romantic era, there was a steady market of arrangements of opera melodies into medlies, themes and variations, and fantasies.  Their critical raves are numberous, in countless major music magazines... see their website to see the flow of rave reviews.  The Cavatina Duo brings us a full serving of these bon bons and favorites, and the combination of quitar and flute have such easy relate-ability that listeners of many genres will enjoy this CD.

(Not the CD cover, this Photo shows Trio Solisti, pianist Neiman and violinist Bachmann are featured on today's CD.  We were unable to get a picture of today's CD cover.)
Faure & Saint Saens
ISBN# 6 87077 95293 9
Individually and together, the musicians on this CD have achieved international recognition and high critical acclaim.

Jacques Champion de Chambonnieres
Karen Flint, harpsichord
2 CD Set
ISBN# 8 88295 26087 9
Brandywine Baroque & Plectra Home Page
Highly esteemed harpsichordist Karen Flint continues to add to her exploration of great French keyboard composers.

Harry Christophers & The Sixteen
CORO 16128
ISBN# 8 28021 61282 4
Exquisite choral works performed beautifully have long been a part of our musical selections on WSCL.  Harry Christophers and The Sixteen have been audience favorties for years.  This is their most recent release of works from Spain in the 1500s.

Join us again next week for more new releases, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

Monday, May 18, 2015

Just Opened - May 15, 2015 - Timeless Romanticism

Our Just Opened mix today includes a major symphony dedicated to the Romantic era, trios from Romantic era composers, late Romantic era cello works on the border of modernism, and timeless traditional folk works from the American South for piano, and a modern choral composer's work with a "timeless" sound intention.

Symphony No. 4 "Romantic"
Manfred Honeck, Dir.
Pittsburgh Symphony Orch.
ISBN# 0 30911 27132 9
We shared this marvelous new performance of this melodic full symphony.

Greg McCallum, piano
McCallum's Official Website
MSR 1092
ISBN# 6 81585 10922 9
Traditional Southern songs and melodies in beautiful piano transcriptions.

Kim Cook, violoncello
More info on Kim Cook
MSR 1512
ISBN# 6 81585 15122 8
Lalo is best known for his "Symphony Espagnole" - basically a violin concerto.  Here we have a beautiful presentation of his rarely heard cello concerto, set alongside Saint Saens concreto and a moving elegy by Faure.

Romantic Trios for Oboe, Viola and Piano
Ensemble Schumann
Ensemble's Official Website
MSR 1423
ISBN# 6 81585 14232 5
My Delight of the Week.  Romantic era trios with this unusual combination of instruments make this accessible and unique.
Michael John Trotta, composer
Trotta's Official Website
HRCD 1116
ISBN# 8 45121 07985 2
New Choral works by a modern composer.   Very much in the meditative vein, if you enjoy the works of John Rutter and Eric Whittaker, this are an easy pick for your CD collection.

Thank you for joining us as we open up new releases and releases new to us each Friday on "Just Opened."
Kara Dahl Russell


The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Public Radio Delmarva, its staff, members, underwriters, Salisbury University, or the Salisbury University Foundation. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author. No information on this blog will be understood as official.